The Screeching Owl

Top 10 Reasons Why Vacations Are Important Work Times For Students

Posted by David Fisher on 6th March 2011

You’re probably reading this post title and thinking that I can’t be serious.  But I am.  Check out my list and, just maybe, you’ll agree with me at the end.

1. It’s Your Time: Unless you’re going on a very scheduled vacation, you will probably be able to, with the help of your parents, plan out your vacation time such that you’ll maximize your recreational time and still be able to fit in the small amount of time needed to complete your work and daily reading.  You’ll be surprised at how easy this will be.

2. Work Over Breakfast: Or lunch.  Or dinner.  While you’re enjoying your leisurely breakfast, or any other meal, get that work done.  Just don’t spill!

3. Phone a Friend: You don’t often get a lot of time to do this in class, but why not take advantage of working on some of the school work with a friend.  You might just be able to help your friend with a thing or two, or vice versa.  You may even find that you’ll finish more work together in the same amount of time without realizing it.

4. Just Read: It’s vacation!  What do your parents often do on vacation, besides paying for all of your fun, they read!  And so should you!  Grab that book and go sit outside by the pool (if you live in Florida and are reading this, that would work).  Or, grab that book and go sit outside in the sun.  Just read!

5. PEMDAS: For those of you who don’t remember PEMDAS (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally), your kids do.  Get those math papers or packets out and practice those skills that keep evading you.  By working on them at home, you won’t have to worry about your teacher telling you that it’s time to move to another lesson even if you’re not completely ready.

6. Ask Your Parents: I know, you’re at this age when you think it’s not too cool to be seen with your parents in public.  Since you won’t be in public when you’re working, you can now ask your parents for help.  Believe it or not, they really can help you.  Your parents may not know how you currently work on some math problems, for example, but they’ve already done these.  Listen to their tips; you may just find one that works for you.

7. Journal Daily: It’s amazing when you come back from break and tell me that you did absolutely nothing.  How does that work?  This time, use a journal daily.  Write a little bit every night about what you did during the day.  Once the week is done, you realize how much of nothing you actually did.

8. Experiment: With your parents permission, blow something up. (Note to Parents: I’m speaking metaphorically here.)  Try a science experiment that you’ve always wanted to try.  Cook something new.  Change an ingredient in one of your favorite recipes and see what happens.  Make sure that you work with your parents on this one, and talk about what you’re doing.  You’ll be amazed at how much science goes into your day without even realizing it.

9. Study Something New: Break out that camera and go shoot pictures at a museum or a nature preserve.  Go to that art class.  Learn a new dance.  Take a sports lesson.  Do something for the first time.  It doesn’t really matter.  Go try something new and awaken a part of your brain that you haven’t used before.  You’ll be amazed at how much fun it is to do this.  You might even get the added benefit of gaining a new hobby.

10. Have Fun: That’s right, have fun!  Go play.  Go hang with your friends.  Go do what makes you happy.  Better students happen when you take care of your bodies and minds outside of school.  Play, relaxation, and socializing with friends help to keep you working at peak performance.  Besides, isn’t having fun what vacations are all about?

Well, there you have it.  The list sounds like it’s going to be a lot of work for you.  Not really.  I’d imagine that some of your parents are going to make you do some of these things during vacation regardless.  I’ve only added some new items for you to think about.

Vacations are about relaxing, having fun, trying new experiences, and so much more.  I’m just asking you to think about them in different terms.  OK, enough procrastinating; get to work!

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Read What You Love, Love What You Read

Posted by David Fisher on 10th October 2010

Over the course of the years that I’ve been teaching, students often ask if I read.  Yes, I tell them.  My answer is usually followed by one of a couple of other questions.  The first one is generally why; the second one has most recently been what.  What, as in, what do you read and not the sarcastic what?  What’s your favorite book, genre, author, story, etc?  Inquiring minds…

Let’s start with the why.  Well, why not?  Reading is a skill, and like any other skill that one has acquired over many years of education and training, it too needs to be continually practiced in order for it to stay sharp and fresh.  In addition to all of the reasons that we, teachers, give our students about the importance of being life-long readers, I choose to read instead of doing other things.  Life isn’t always a planned event, so finding a few extra minutes to read, wherever those minutes come from and wherever the reading location (I’m not going to say anymore about that one…) reading is a stress-relieving event for me.  I do have to admit, though, that I really do like to read on the couch knowing that Zorro, our greyhound, will always climb up next to me, drop his head on my leg, and stay there for as long I am reading.  I also read to show Zoe, my daughter, that even adults find time to enjoy the written word.  Family reading time has now become part of our weekend time together, and will shortly be part of our nightly routine.

Why I read is directly connected to the title of this post.  How so?  I read what I love and I love what I read.  The time that I find to read has to be filled with any text that will keep me engaged for whatever time that is.  I’ll catch up on the news by reading the paper online.  I’ll keep up with the world of business with any one of the several business magazines we get at home.  Mindless reading, that is reading that doesn’t require me to have to piece anything together, always goes to something like People; after all, everyone wants to know about the latest celebrity divorce, reality show cast, and new movie releases.

What I really love to read is political thrillers.  Give me a book by David Baldacci or Brad Thor and I’m a happy camper!  Why (here I go again)?  Simple answer: Because I can.  I can get hooked on the plot, get angry at the characters, get excited or nervous depending what is happening in the plot, and I can forget about the rest of the world for as long I have to turn the pages.  This is what I love to read!

Now it’s your turn.  Do you read what you love?  Do you love what you read?

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